Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Now that my New Years resolutions have mostly disappeared into the rear-view mirror, maybe it's time for me to make some more --

Elder Joe J. Christensen:
"To a degree, we all understand the gospel and know what we should be doing in our lives. Very likely, we know more than we apply. It may be a little like the young county farm agent who wanted to put his college training to use and said to the farmer, 'Sam, you know that now we use something called contour plowing.' He went on to also expound on the benefits of hybrid strains of grain and crop rotation. About the time he got to the benefits of milking the cows three times a day rather than two, the old farmer said, 'Hey, sonny, just a minute. I'm not farming half as well as I know how already.'

"Isn't that the way life is? We seldom perform to the level of our knowledge. This brings me to the subject of resolutions -- resolutions to conform our lives more closely to what we already know about the gospel. While many of us take seriously our New Year's resolutions, some of us may not have made any because of our prior problems in keeping them. We must not overlook the power that making good resolutions can have in helping make our lives happier and more successful -- regardless of our past performance....

"I am convinced that if we make and keep resolutions in those four areas, we will have a happier and more successful new year this coming year and every year for the rest of our lives. Let's consider the nature of such resolutions and the benefits that can be ours if our resolve to improve ourselves is firm.

"Resolution number one: I resolve to expand my intellectual horizons, to increase in wisdom....

"Resolution number two: I will be resolute in preserving and strengthening my physical health....

"The third major resolution: I resolve to be a truer friend and to become more socially acceptable to people of high standards....

"The fourth resolve: I will grow spiritually -- I will increase in favor with God."

("Resolutions," BYU devotional, January 9, 1994)

The last two remind me of Luke 2:52: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." Mind & body, sociality & spirituality. I know *what* to improve, I think I just need more motivation (energy?) to *do* it.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lie and try.

"Lie and try" on gun background checks?

If 80,000 were caught, I wonder how many weren't?

I remember the feeling at school when I was very young -- at any time somebody could come up and smack you, kick you, throw something at you, etc. Now I don't think these kids were singling me out, they did it to everybody, and it was more playful than malicious. But it still made me very nervous, and I spent much of my time in those environments establishing my defenses -- keeping my legs stretched out and backpack in the aisle (limited their ability to walk close by), held pencils/pens pointed toward the approacher (forcing them to be a little more careful in their swings), learning the particular weaknesses of each aggressor, etc.

(I remember one time in 7th grade after school, I was waiting for my dad in the library, reading on the floor. A kid I knew came over being a jerk, and started stepping on my shoes. Without thinking I hooked my foot around the back of his heel and put my other foot on his shin and pushed. He went over backwards, backpack and books going everywhere. Take that! He stood back up, smiled, and said genuinely, "Nice move!" Curiously we were friends after that.)

Anyway, one of my favorite parts of the higher grades was that the kids stopped doing that stuff.

*Everybody* having guns kind-of makes me feel the same way -- we all know people who aren't quite stable mentally, and we're all vulnerable to gunshots. So how do we get to the "higher grades" with people like this around?

I wish we had a way to "vote" on people's ability to carry guns. We could go into a system and indicate our levels of confidence in them carrying guns. The system would weight my inputs with my overall credibility, and apply that with all the other inputs on that person, and if there was enough concern, the person would have to go in for a professional evaluation before they could get a gun license, which would be a tag on your drivers license/id. Possessing a gun without the license annotation would be a separate and serious crime.

Obviously you'd only put in inputs for people you had strong opinions about: crazies - no, friends - yes. But that's exactly the inputs you'd want. And if a person is ganged up on, a high rating on the professional evaluation would negatively affect the credibility of the raters.

As a society we're a long ways from being able to accept something like this, but certainly getting closer (thanks to things like eBay).

Does anyone read this thing?

views since Feb. 9, 2008